Falling and Feedback by Francis Gideon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
When a new patron at the library catches Tyler’s sights, she doesn’t expect the encounter to turn into much. But when she realizes that Josh Dubsky, a PhD student at the local university, is translating a poem from a prior civilization, she’s even more intrigued.
As Tyler works with Josh to translate the poem and find references for a lost world, she also excavates her own history through her grandmother’s stories about society, painting with black market materials, and her own synesthesia.
As the two start a romance, Tyler finds her world changing even more. When Josh’s academic friends, his work schedule, and the weight of history becomes too much, Tyler closes her eyes and imagines a future that she pulls from the dark.
This book got my attention when I was going through upcoming releases because of the cover. The blurb sounded really good. I have to say the book left me a bit at a loss. Not that it is bad written, that’s not the case, it’s more the fact that the story is starting in medias res, we don’t get any introduction, the bonding to the character is fast and the reader have to pretty soon decide if they like the character or not. I could connect with Tyler and Josh, still they have their secrets.
What I really liked about the book – unexpectedly – was the dystopian topic, the setting in which the people seem to live. It’s seems to be a kind of post-apocalyptic alternative world were resources like water are a rare thing and every single person has only limited access, regulated really strictly. Although it is a future world a lot of things are still like we know it but the differences are there, however shown in minor details, like the limitation of water or paper.
The fact that Josh is a transgender person is what interested me most and what was already mentioned in the blurb. Josh was former a woman and now transitioned to a man, and the topic is pretty openly displayed because of Josh’t honesty. I liked Tyler’s acceptance. Still I was pretty astonished that the concept of being trans isn’t a “matter” for the people in the society which gives a good clue how developed the world actually is. I honestly expected more hesitance but it’s pretty soon clear that Tyler don’t mind. And that’s a really wonderful thing because it give a positive feeling. Something you are sometimes missing in a book about a transgender character.
The intercourses between Tyler and Josh are pretty explicit, the act is displayed in the book, people who expect less or aren’t fond of Transgender (FTM) / F intercourses maybe shouldn’t pick this book. I liked the chemistry between the two different character. Very honest and without reluctance the sex is shown, Tyler is asking questions but isn’t noisy in her wish to learn more. And Josh is explaining it to her and the reader as well in a calm and understandable way. Thumbs up for this.
The book’s major topic is poetry and music, which makes the whole book pretty artistic. With Josh we have a translator who is working on a poem from an extinct group of society and Tyler is saying about herself she is a person who is highly influenced by synesthesia. The whole concept is pretty clear in the book still it demands a lot of thinking for the reader, which is amazing and surprising all in one for a short story like this.
Things could have been more elaborated, but the attempt is there, the character are charming and interesting. Therefore 4 out of 5 stars. 🙂